Property owners in Hoima municipality may suffer losses during the implementation of the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructural Development-USMID project because no funds have been budgeted for compensation. Hoima is among the 17 Municipalities selected to benefit from the 160 million dollar World Bank funded project whose implementation starts this July.
The project focuses on improving street lighting, construction of modern markets and roads amongst others. Hoima municipality has prioritized street tarmacking. However, despite the fact that the project is expected to kick off in two months, government is yet to reconsider its stand on compensating those whose property will be affected by the road works. Grace Mary Mugasa, the Mayor Hoima Municipality says that several buildings, pump stations and other properties especially those on Main Street and Fort portal road will be damaged.
She however, says there are no arrangements for compensation since the project budget does not provide for it. Mugasa says although the measurements of the road have not yet been done, it is very clear that many properties in the town encroach on the road reserve. Although guidelines stipulate that all developments should not be less than five meters away from the road, some buildings in town stretch as far as two meters into the road reserve.
Mugasa says after the road is measured they will met the affected business people to chat away forward so that the project does not face any resistance.
Last year, the business community petitioned Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to consider compensating residents who will be affected by the project. It came after officials from the ministry disclosed that no compensation will be paid under the project. Hajj Rashid Sewali, a local businessman in Hoima warned that the lack of compensation could detach the community from the project. Some of the property owners have faulted the ministry for poor planning.
Doctor Tom Ediamu, the proprietor of Edpa Clinic building on Coronation Street admits his building fence entered two meters into the road reserve. He attributes this to lack of a comprehensive development plan for the town to guide such developments. Lack of due compensation has tainted several government projects in Hoima. Prominent of these is the Kaiso-Tonya road project where people have been compensated as less as 3000shillings for lost portions of their land.
Under the USMID Project, Hoima Municipality will be receiving four billion shillings every financial year for a period of five years. Other municipalities earmarked to benefit from the project include are Jinja, Fort portal, Arua, Entebbe, Gulu, Masaka, Mbale, Mbarara, Moroto, Soroti, Jinja, Kabale, Lira and Tororo.